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Is there a way to burn an MP3 CD when iTunes only contains (unprotected) AAC files purchased from the iTunes store?

There isn't an option directly in iTunes to convert AAC -> MP3 like there is for MP3 -> AAC, and having to convert the AAC files to MP3 and use an external tool to burn the disk would be time-consuming. Are there any plugins for iTunes that can accomplish this? Or programs which can read an iTunes playlist, convert the tracks to MP3 "on the fly" while burning the CD?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes, but you need to create MP3 versions of your files before attempting to burn your MP3 CD.

Unfortunately, iTunes cannot convert songs to MP3 files on the fly. To burn an MP3 CD, you need to add MP3 songs to your playlist. It won't work for AAC songs added to it, protected or not.

But wait, there are some good news: You can easily create MP3 version of your songs. Without additional software, right from iTunes.

The menu item to "Create AAC Version" of your songs, as you mentionned it, is in fact tied to your import settings. If you change the encoding format to MP3, the menu item to convert your songs will reflect that choice, enabling you to create MP3 versions of your songs.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to the iTunes preferences ("iTunes" Menu > "Preferences...")
  2. Select the "General" tab
  3. Click on the "Import Setting..." button
  4. Select "MP3 Encoder" for the "Import Using:" option

You can then see a "Create MP3 Version" item from the "Advanced" menu.

The next steps are simple:

  1. Select the songs you are willing to burn as an MP3 CD
  2. Choose the "Create MP3 Version" item from the "Advanced" menu
  3. Create a new playlist
  4. Add your newly created MP3 songs to it
  5. Click the "Burn Disc" button located in the window's bottom right
  6. When asked, choose "MP3 CD" for the "Disc format:" option
  7. Click "Burn"
  8. Enjoy your MP3 CD.
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This didn't work for me, which is why I asked: I got a message saying there were 30 errors, when trying to burn 30 tracks as an MP3 CD. –  Phillip Oldham Mar 30 '10 at 14:10
    
Odd. Can you try again and/or supply more information about those errors? –  Arko Mar 30 '10 at 14:57
    
@Philip Oldham: You are right, original answer didn't work. Updated it with a solution. –  Arko Mar 30 '10 at 15:10
    
Is there a simple way of step 4. (Add your newly created MP3 songs to new playlist) Playlist has lots of songs and mp3 files are in their own album directories. It's hard to select them... –  Murat Çorlu Jun 5 '13 at 18:06

If the answer provided by Arko doesn't work, or if you just want to convert a few songs:

Go into Preferences and change the import settings to use the MP3 encoder (General tab -> Import Settings), after doing that you will have the option to Create MP3 version of the songs instead of Create AAC version (From Advanced menu or the context-menu)

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I found (in Tunes 11.04 on a MAC 10.6.8 OS) that after you change the encoder format to MP3 and then create the MP3 version you click show in finder on the file in the playlist and it takes you to your media folder of Itunes. It places the songs in your media folder in that specific artist and album folder. You then can select the MP3's from each album and drag them to the playlist and burn them. Not sure why it does it this way rather than just place them in the playlist. It may have something to do with the option of allowing Itunes to organize your media or it's a MAC thing? I suppose if you were creating a large collection of songs to burn you could temporarily change where your media goes like your desktop and change the name to the playlist you are burning and then change the media folder back after you are burning. Hope this helps someone!

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To burn a playlist that contains non-MP3 as MP3:

  1. Select the playlist
  2. Select all songs in the playlist
  3. Right-click on the selected songs
  4. Chose "Convert to MP3"
  5. Make a new playlist with the MP3 versions of the songs
  6. Burn that playlist to disk
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There's an Mac app exactly for that: MP3 CD Maker. It can burn MP3 CDs from your iTunes playlists and automatically convert the songs from AAC, AIFF, WAV to MP3 on the fly without modifying your iTunes library in any way.

It's a lot simpler and less hassle than changing the format of all your non-MP3 songs and dealing with the iTunes library full of duplicates.

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